Got blood on your cell phone?

Beware - the maker of your mobile phone may not want you to know about this

Chika Oduah
5 min readApr 10, 2020

Hey, your cell phone, laptop or tablet likely has a rare metallic ore called coltan in it. Now maybe, you’ve never heard of coltan, but your device probably wouldn’t even turn on without it.

A man displays coltan rocks at a town in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo — Reuters/Baz Ratner

Coltan is extremely useful. It contains a key metal that’s used to manufacture lightbulbs, computers, vacuum cleaners and nowadays, solar panels.

But have you ever heard of blood diamonds? Well, coltan is a blood mineral, AKA, a conflict mineral. Conflict minerals are dirty secrets that the electronic industry doesn’t want you to know about.

From Mine to Mobile Phone: The Conflict Minerals Supply Chain

Let me break it down:

Conflict minerals are natural, raw minerals that finance warfare. Rebel soldiers, oppressive dictatorships, genocides, conflict, systematic rape, human rights abuses — these things are often perpetuated and funded by money generated from the extraction and sale of conflict minerals.



Chika Oduah

Africa-centric news, notes and observations from a journalist | poet | photographer | filmmaker | writer travelling through Africa *